Simone Schelgel has always treated “being a good person” as a life goal since a young age. “Being honest and righteous is the way to be respected in Western society,” she said. “It includes being honest to others and to oneself. I do my best to set a good example. I read books about traditional values.”
She and her husband Christian are considered a perfect match by their family and friends. They have not argued during their 18 years of marriage. They live a happy family life with their children in the beautiful Swiss city of Schangnau.
Simone gave an example of the standards they hold themselves to at home. “One day in 1999, we were trimming our bushes and trees in the garden and left our door unlocked. A thief went in and stole our bank card and our PIN number. Both of us thought we might have owed him in the past and didn’t take it too hard. The thief took the maximum amount from our bank card, which brought us financial distress. But the thought of paying off a debt made us take it lightly.”
She added, “We always tried to stay away from painkillers. Aren’t we humans supposed to have some discomfort? When we have discomfort, it must be the time for us to bear it. It’s not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, we haven’t gotten sick. I had a little back pain sometimes, but I toughed it through and never went to see a doctor.”
Simone and Christian enjoy their way of life. They learned Judo, but stopped after a few years, when they couldn’t make any more progress. She knew instinctively that the practice, “the right one, the one that fits me, will come sooner or later.” She waited patiently.
Finding Her Way
In April 2004, Christian found a flyer in their mailbox. It was an introduction to Falun Dafa and the persecution of the meditation practice in China. Christian passed it to Simone and said, “If it’s banned in China, it must be something good.”
Christian found the book Zhuan Falun online and started reading it. Simone wasn’t used to reading online, but she took a look at the computer screen out of curiosity.
A few lines jumped out at her,
“So past generations of high-level monks also saw that the question of eating meat isn’t what’s key. They knew that what’s key is whether he can get rid of the attachment, and that if there’s no attachment it doesn’t matter what a person fills his stomach with, anything’s fine.”
“The point isn’t to eat meat or not to, what’s key is to get rid of that attachment.” (“The Seventh Talk,” Zhuan Falun)
“Yes, exactly! It’s so true! Could these principles work on other things, too?” Simone wondered. She knew intuitively that this practice was what she had been looking for.
They searched online for information about Falun Dafa exercise groups in Switzerland, and drove half an hour to Bern to learn the exercises. They bought the books and instruction videos while they were there. Simone finished reading the book Zhuan Falun in three nights.
“I had found what I was looking for! This was exactly what I wanted! The book answered all my questions. I read with ease, and didn’t run into any obstacles in my understanding or feel that any theory was strange. My only wish was to read it again and again. Every word in the book is so true, every topic and every paragraph, such as ‘transformation of karma,’ the relationship between ‘loss and gain,’ treating diseases, sham qigong practices, reincarnation…As I read along, I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Yes, exactly!’” Simone said.
After reading the book, she felt blessed that she had done the right thing with the money and medicine earlier. Guided by Dafa principles, she didn’t need to go by trial and error anymore. “We finally found the detailed directions and our guiding Master. My goal of being a good person will be accomplished faster while assimilating to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. All attachments and bad habits can be removed under Dafa’s guidance. I can finally practice cultivation!”
Simone said, “I finally know why I came to the world. Zhuan Falun has solved the mysteries of life. When I was a child, I used to think I had come to the wrong planet, and been born at the wrong time. I wasn’t interested in this world. What I had pursued was noble, honest, righteous and beautiful. But what was happening around me was deception and people sabotaging people. I thought I didn’t belong here. After learning Dafa, I finally realized the only reason I had come here was to become a disciple of Master Li Hongzhi.”
Falun Dafa teaches practitioners to look for their own faults when they run into problems, no matter how minor something appears to be. In other words, cultivators don’t blame others in a conflict, but look for their own shortcomings, and continue to improve their moral standards in everyday life.
Simone found the joy of cultivation. She said, “When I found that I was jealous of others, I knew clearly that it was an opportunity for me to identify my shortcomings. I would seriously think, ‘What am I jealous of? Why am I jealous?’ I understand that cultivation takes persistence, and any conflict is a chance for me to improve myself. I enjoy the relief and pleasure of identifying and eliminating my attachments.”
“When conflicts arise, I gradually learned to think calmly for the best way to handle them. Every time that I looked for a way to do well, I would find my problem. Whatever non-cultivators say or do can’t disturb me any more.”
“An elderly single woman lives downstairs in our building. People call her a ‘hidden dragon.’ Her former neighbors had petitioned to remove her from their building in the past. She had moved several times, and finally moved to our building. No one likes her. She curses everyone and everything.”
“One day, I ran into her in the hallway. She started cursing me and my family. I told her, ‘No matter how you treat us, I won’t treat you in the same way. I will do my best to be friendly to you, no matter how you treat me. If you decide to fight with me. That’s your decision. I definitely won’t fight you. That’s my decision. Have a good day!’ I left after saying that. She has changed. She became nicer and curses less. I knew Dafa could make cultivators not fight back, but I didn’t expect our behavior to influence a non-cultivator so much.”
“Dafa has given me a life filled with surprise and happiness. It helps me truly eliminate impure mentalities, habits and other bad things. These things are impossible to get rid of with only an individual’s will. I have personally experienced it. Thanks to Dafa, I can continue to find and eliminate them and purify myself.”
Saddened by Persecution
Simone said, “Falun Dafa has given me peace inside and outside. It’s most pitiful for people to miss Dafa because of the Chinese government’s lies. Whoever has a chance to get the book Zhuan Falun should read it, because it’s priceless. Dafa has given me so much. No words can describe it. I truly hope other people will be blessed and experience the power of Dafa.”
Simone and Christian participate in activities to introduce Falun Dafa and expose the persecution in China. She was sad to see some people with misunderstandings about Dafa.
She said, “Dafa is so pure and beautiful, and has given people so much. But it’s terribly slandered. It’s the saddest thing. I blame myself when I can’t get through to someone or completely explain the whole thing. I ask myself, ‘Why couldn’t I treat others with the kind of compassion that melts iron and steel? Is there anything wrong with what I said or did? Does this person still have another chance to listen to the true story?’ I’m sad for people’s misunderstandings about Dafa. Our fellow practitioners are being persecuted in China. I have to cultivate myself well every day so that my words are pure and able to touch people’s hearts.”